By the Book

The Art of Advertising (excerpt)

The Art of Advertising invites us to consider both the intended and unintended messages of the advertisements of the past.

Julie Anne Lambert


On Arundhati Roy's 'My Seditious Heart'

While her novels evoke romance, longing, forbidden love, and class struggle, Arundhati Roy's nonfiction proves more incendiary, more seditious.


Groupthink and Other Painful Reflections on ​Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth

TOPY and Genesis P-Orridge's knowing adoption of cult iconography and organizing principles quickly slid from satiric emulation to full embrace -- and we all went along with it.


Denmark's Blaue Blume Create Gorgeous Electropop on "Loveable" (premiere)

Denmark's Blaue Blume gently mould a lushly textured backing with little more than twinkling, arpeggiated synths and chilly electronics on "Loveable".


By the Book: I'd Fight the World: A Political History of Old-Time, Hillbilly, and Country Music

I'd Fight the World explores the connection between country music and electoral politics, giving us a glimpse into how politicians used celebrity long before the rise of the "movie-actor president" and the "Twitter president".


On Difficulties with Acculturation in 'From Chernobyl with Love'

Journalist Katya Cengel's memoir, From Chernobyl with Love, is more illuminating of the American mindset than it is of Latvia and Ukraine.


Adjusting the Focus on Somali-Americans: 'First Person Plural' and 'Muslim Youth Voices'

Eric Tretbar's First Person Plural and PBS' shorts Muslim Youth Voices both offer new representations of Somali-Americans. A significant contribution, given the Islamophobic frameworks that structure most cinema, television, and popular culture in general.


Scholar Mel Stanfill's 'Exploiting Fandom' Takes on Big Business and Media Manipulation

Exploiting Fandom brings together mainstream sports fandoms and speculative media fandoms, often finding strong correlations between the two.


By the Book: 'A Hidden Landscape Once a Week'

In this excerpt of a history of the UK music press, A Hidden Landscape Once a Week, Tony Stewart recalls his time as writer and deputy editor at NME (1971-85) — the strengths and pleasures of teamwork and the vital role of the visual in the energies of a rock paper.

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Should America Negotiate with Terrorists? An Interview with Joel Simon

Joel Simon, Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, discusses his new book, We Want to Negotiate, which argues for sweeping changes to the way the US responds to hostage-taking.


A Troubled Sound Rings on in Danny Goldberg's 'In Search of the Lost Chord'

Danny Goldberg's In Search of The Lost Chord: 1967 and The Hippie Idea resonates with today's activist readers.


Sight and Sound and Fury: Paul Fonoroff's Powerful 'Chinese Movie Magazines'

In Chinese Movie Magazines, Paul Fonoroff highlights the capacity for humans to embed their desires and history in the most innocuous-seeming of creative efforts.


'Iconic Magazine Covers' Positions Magazine Covers As Cultural Artifacts and Historical Touchstones

Ian Birch's engaging Iconic Magazine Covers shows how magazines and their covers not only reflect social change -- they can also help bring about social change.


'On Press' Shows That Journalism Has Survived Tough Times Before

Matthew Pressman's engaging, historical dive into the fourth estate, On Press, looks at the forces that contributed to the decline of news in print, gave rise to interpretive reporting, and the new challenges and advantages available to news reporters and consumers today.


Bill Gunn's 'Personal Problems' and a History of the Video Revolution

Kino Lorber's release of Personal Problems can be seen as a major intervention in recovering "lost" videotapes, representing an important black collective creative contribution of US grassroots videomaking.


'Confidential Confidential' Analyzes Scandal, Libel, and '50s-era Celebrity Culture

Samantha Barbas' Confidential Confidential brings to mind Fox News, Donald Trump, and the current American cultural-political climate of lies and hysteria.


'A Private War' Brilliantly Recalls a True Hero, War Correspondent Marie Colvin

Documentarian Matthew Heineman's debut feature is an inspiring tribute to war correspondent Marie Colvin, who dedicated her life to documenting the human cost of war.


'Trump and the Media': Work-in-Progress Dispatches from a Sinking Ship

The warning signs of a failing media system have always been there. This MIT Press collection of media scholars and activists casts light on recent media history and where it's taking us.


'Nightcrawler' and the Brand Called Lou Bloom™

The personal branding phenomenon is an ongoing crisis of humanity.


Why Does Anyone Turn to a Michael Moore Film?

From Bowling for Columbine to the recent Fahrenheit 11/9, one wonders, what is being validated in Michael Moore films?


'Struggling for Ordinary' in the Everydayness of Transgender Life

In light of disempowering messages, how do people find ways to empower themselves?


Freedom of the Press Is Under Attack, and Psychedelic Musicians Are Fighting Back

In today's America, just being an artist is a political act, and Scott McDowell is using his label prowess and a love of psychedelic music to help protect journalists the world over.


Video-idiocy? No, 'Videocracy' Celebrates the Bright Side of YouTube Indulgence

Against the constant distaste for and dismay about social media, Videocracy gives readers a series of anecdotes that connect YouTube to the goodness of being human.


Here to Stay? The Neil Young Archives

Combining his punk ethos and tech savvy in this new online archive, Neil Young has to choose what archival releases add new understanding, new angles on the story, new points of emphasis in his own history -- and which do not.


'Seventeen' Is a Journalistic Thriller for Anyone Concerned About the State of News Media

Replete with intense drama, moral dilemmas, and interpersonal conflict, Hideo Yokoyama provides a remarkably well-constructed illustration of the dilemmas journalists face in difficult situations.


Mark Whitaker's 'Smoketown' Reveals a Forgotten Black Renaissance

With a potent newspaper, a surge in the arts, and some sports heroics, Pittsburgh was the center of a vital cultural moment.

Justin Cober-Lake

The Enduring Power of Darkwave: An Interview with Dave Cantrell

The genre that never dies brings its support to Planned Parenthood via a smashing new compilation.


Believe the Hype: Paul Gorman's  Story of Style Bible 'The Face'

Pop culture in the Thatcher/Reagan years and beyond, all photographed beautifully and polished to a high sheen. Paul Gorman guides us through the A-List parties and the corporate takeovers of 24 years of The Face.


Informed or Inflamed? Author Steve Almond Talks About How We Consume Trump

With the recent release of Bad Stories: What the Hell Just Happened to Our Country, Steve Almond talks in-depth about the US president whom most parents wouldn't even let on the playground -- and about his beef with the American left.


Is Life in a 'Post-Truth' World Sustainable?

How do we overcome the human tendency to resist verifiable reality? Lee McIntyre takes this on in this installment of MIT's Essential Knowledge series.


How Has Taking Offense Become a Political Tool?

Hate Spin examines how politicians use the fundamentals of democracy to spread hate for personal gain.


Is Dave Chappelle's Humor Too Out of Touch for a Comeback?

In light of movements like Black Lives Matter and Me Too, Dave Chappelle's 2000 film, Killin' Them Softly may be even more relevant today. But how's his humor holding up?


True/False Film Fest: 'Our New President'

The next film from Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer director Maxim Pozdorovkin treats us to Russian propaganda about the United States.


It Only Looks Like Truth If You Believe It 'Control Room' Reminds Us

As we encounter so many broken promises, dangerous corruptions, and increasing assaults on journalism, Control Room's arguments about and insights into war and media only seem more acute, and tragically, lasting.


Is Journalism's Fear of Bias Worse Than Bias Itself?

Linda Greenhouse, one of America's top journalists takes aim at some of the field's worst and most outdated habits in Just a Journalist.

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